- Last Updated: 3:17 AM, May 20, 2012
- Posted: 1:17 AM, May 16, 2012
Benjamin Ezike was better than Rhode Island. At least that’s the way the Susan Wagner jumping star felt with interest from some of the country’s top programs.
“Early on I was shutting them off,” he said. “I was feeling like I was too good because I was getting looked at by these big schools, so I shouldn’t even pay attention to those schools.”
The senior had a few official visits left and with Rhode Island pushing hard and his parents telling him not to count anyone out, he decided to give the college a chance. He was sold the minute he visited the Atlantic-10 school in April and has signed a National Letter of Intent with URI, he told The Post. He picked the Rams and coach John Copeland over LSU, Clemson, Nebraska and UConn. He was amazed with how cordial the people were and felt an immediate comfort level with the coaching staff.
“After I got there I realized that was the only place I could see myself,” Ezike said.
The city’s top triple jumper and long jumper wanted to go to the place where he could get the individual attention he felt he needed to get better. While many of the bigger programs have tremendous coaching, you can sometimes be looked at as just another talented jumper among many, Ezike felt. He was also impressed with Rhode Island’s criminal justice program.
“They have a lot of good jumpers who have great potential where I will be able to work with them,” he said. … “I have competition to work with at my own school.”
Ezike is also Wagner’s star running back, rushing for 1,412 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. He will not play in college in order to not risk injury for track.
Ezike currently owns the best triple jump mark in the state this season outdoors at 48-feet, 4.75 inches at the Staten Island Championships on May 6. In late April at the Big Blue meet at St. Joseph by the Sea he recorded the best long jump in the state this year with a leap of 23-0.
Ezike, who has been battling the effects of an ankle injury since the National Scholastic indoor championships in March, is coming off a big weekend at the Glenn D. Loucks Memorial Games at White Plains HS. He won the triple jump with a mark of 47-11 and did not compete in the final to rest his ankle. He hopes to hit 49 to 50 feet by season’s end.
“It wasn’t hurting me to the point where I couldn’t jump,” Ezike said. “I just didn’t want to injure it.”
He also didn’t want to attend Rhode Island at first, but found it to be exactly what he was looking for.
"When I went down there,” Ezike said, “I was like, ‘Wow.’”Follow @NYPostsports